With a rather humbling defeat in last week’s season opener, the Ramblas were keen to consign it to history books and kickstart their season against the team formerly known as Herne CC, St Nicholas & Sarre CC. Skipper Stocks had another selection headache to contend with, with Messrs Dacre and Parrett vying for spots in the starting XI. Stocks decided to rest Alex Danks and Howard Hardy-King due injury and squad rotation respectively. Even the eleventh hour drop out of Thomas couldn’t upset the apple cart, as Doug Danks stepped up to the plate.
After a pre-match pint at the local, conversation moved away from Sam Ford’s fashion sense and on to the game at hand. Stocks lost the toss and the Ramblas were put into the field, a decision St Nicholas’ skipper quickly regretted as Godfrey (0) was caught and bowled by Loughlin with just the fourth ball of the match. Loughlin was ably supported by his fellow opening bowler Fitch, whose tight bowling (and occasional moon ball) was soon rewarded with a wicket, dismissing fellow opener Mole (17) with a sharp catch off his own bowling. They say good things come in threes and this was evident went Hills (8) was dismissed – also caught and bowled by Fitch.
The skipper gave Loughlin and Fitch a well-earned breather and brought on Parrett and Dacre, with each of them making their bowling debuts for the new season. Despite some understandable rustiness, both bowlers soon found their rhythm and Parrett was unlucky not to claim a wicket when Fitch dropped a dolly (not my words, the words of the St Nicholas & Sarre’s scorer) early in his spell. Whilst Parrett was unable to get a wicket in his spell, Dacre was the recipient of a sharp catch by the ageless Doug Danks at backward point to dismiss Searchfield (17). One wicket became two, when St Nicholas’ ‘keeper Tickle (0) attempted to emulate the Benson Leave™ and was duly stumped by Harriss.
The hosts were five down at drinks but the run rate was still healthy and there was all to play for. Stocks rotated the bowling again, bringing on D. Danks and S. Ford to keep the opposition from settling. Once again the bowling was tight and the fielding was just as impressive, despite the odd bad ball being punished with a boundary. S. Ford soon got his reward (I’m a poet…) and D. Macer (31) was clean bowled by one that kept low. With St Nicholas six wickets down, the tail were determined to make the Ramblas earn the rest of their wickets, and chipped away at the scoreboard.
Sensing that a change in the attack was needed, Stocks replaced D. Danks with T. Danks and the change paid immediate dividends. Bartlett (13) had a rush of blood to the head, charging down the wicket and was duly stumped by Harriss. T. Danks was once again amongst the wickets when Richardson (21) went for a big heave, only to top edge it and see the ball land in the ‘keeper’s gloves. P. Ford replaced S. Ford and the two combined for the ninth wicket when R. Macer (5) smashed a short ball straight into the hands of S. Ford. A particularly smart catch considering the ball was hit with such pace, it nearly broke the sound barrier. T. Danks finished off proceedings when Churchill (6) mis-timed his shot and was caught at first slip by Stocks.
The hosts were all out for 149 on what was a tough wicket to bat on and the Ramblas knew they had a tough task on their hands.
Victory in sight?
St Nicholas’ put on another excellent tea as the Ramblas congratulated each other on a fine performance in the field, as well as openly mocking Q.P.R.’s relegation. The Ramblas knew that a strong, patient start was important if were to chase down the target of 150.
Alas, in true Ramblas style, we did it the hard way. Stocks (0) was out bowled, trying to flick the ball down the leg side but showing a bit too much of his stumps. Harriss (1) soon joined him in the hutch, caught behind after gloving a ball that kick up off the surface.
The early wickets brought S. Ford and T. Danks to the crease and the pair looked to rebuild the innings and keep the run rate ticking over. In what was a two paced wicket, the pair coped admirably early on, especially when S. Ford took a ball to the chin. Unshaken by this, S. Ford punished any and all bad balls, including a glorious cover drive for six. He even found time to commentate on his innings, shouting ‘wowsers’ when struck by another short ball.
T. Danks was continuing his good form from the previous week, rotating the strike and also smiting any bad ball for boundaries. He had also learnt his lesson from last week’s run out, introducing a sense of formality to proceedings between the wickets. Calls of ‘yes please, one run there Sam’ from T. Danks were met with great joy from the watching Ramblas.
S. Ford soon raced to a well-deserved 50, before he and T. Danks picked up the pace and continued to pile on the runs. T. Danks (48) couldn’t get his second successive fifty for Ramblas, holing out in the deep leaving the Ramblas with 12 runs to win. P. Ford (0) entered the fray… then exited just one ball later, clean bowled by a daisy cutter that pitched short of length yet hit the bottom of middle stump.
Cooper (0) didn’t fare much better, lasting two balls before getting a ball similar to P. Ford. Dacre then strode to the crease, Mongoose in hand, and proceeded to show the top order just how it’s done with a lovely pull shot for a boundary. And it was only fitting that S. Ford should hit the winning runs after a sparkling batting performance, finishing on 88* as the Ramblas won by five wickets. You can see the scorecard in all its glory here, on Play Cricket,
It what was one of the best all-round performances put together by the Ramblas, with all departments performing with distinction. So buoyed by the performance was Tom Danks, that he forgot his shoes and once again had to borrow clothes from his fellow Ramblas. We are now looking to get #helptomdress trending globally…
Ramblas MVP: In what was a terrific team performance, hats off to Tom Danks for a classy knock of 48 and eye popping figures of 3-6. But the MVP award has to go to Sam Ford, for his match winning knock of 88* to go along 1-13 and a smart catch in the field.